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Poster: Jim F Date: May 20, 2011 1:07am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Playin: the Post-Retirement Years [long]

I love these kinds of posts and threads. Thanks for putting this together.

I'm in the middle of 5/19/77's Playin due to the TDIH and all, so that's where my head is at right now in terms of post-hiatus Playin's. As much as I love those of 73+74 (while usually quite good performances, I'm actually usually not as excited about a lot of the more popular 72 versions), sometimes I specifically want to hear that 76/77 style. All-time favorite versions of mine include things like 2/26/77 and 3/19/77.

Anyway, I could stay up too late if I got into a Playin' discussion now, but I wanted to add that I would love for someone to put together a "Post-Garcia" list of Playin's. Or any song for that matter. Over the last 15 years most of us have all seen at least one or two Ratdog, Phil and Friends, The Other Ones/The Dead/Furthur, etc shows. But we don't really talk about them. I know so much "useless information" about GD history and performances, but so little of the post-GD stuff, which is like some mysterious, foreign territory.

Obviously there's the whole no-Jerry thing, but surely there's some pretty good versions that have been played in the last 15 years. One of the best Playin's I ever saw was a Phil and Friends version with Weir from 2001. I highly recommend all of this very noteworthy show to everyone, but for these purposes check out the opening Playin sandwich. Really fun stuff. But I won't rave about it, just give it a listen, maybe you'll like it, maybe you won't.

http://www.archive.org/details/2001-07-10.paf.ka200n-marty.burns.28671.sbeok.flacf

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Poster: bkidwell Date: May 20, 2011 6:49am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Playin: the Post-Retirement Years [long]

I hope the post-Garcia years eventually get their due recognition and study. It's been awhile since I got out to see anyone, but I have good memories of the Other Ones and Phil and Friends shows I saw. I'm enjoying listening to the show you linked.

I think one aspect of the later GD-related groups that makes study difficult is the amount of personnel churn. Just in relation to the story of PITB, I think during the original band's touring years you can hear steady change over time - but in the later situation where have so many different band members changing from year to year, there isn't an opportunity for that kind of continuity.

That said, I think post-95 performances are still relevant, and the full tale of "Playing in the Band" has to include them - after all, we include Mickey and the Hartbeats in the canon of shows.

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Poster: Jim F Date: May 20, 2011 11:40pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Playin: the Post-Retirement Years [long]

That's exactly it, the post-95 years are most certainly relevant in my opinion. Too many people are too quick to discredit any Grateful Dead related music made by any member of the Grateful Dead at any point after 1995. It's almost like the "cool" thing to do, especially among the more veteran GD fans who saw concerts in whatever their heyday was.

I mean I don't always like a lot of the music, and I cannot think of much of it that can compare equally to my favorite GD shows from 1968, but I think people are too quick to hate on anything that happened after Jerry Garcia died. I mean Jerry Garcia was one musician, one great musician, who worked with a group of other musicians. They don't have to cease being musicians just because he died, and it doesn't mean they can't still perform good music.

Now I will also admit that it's VERY rare that I pull out some random Ratdog or The Dead show that I didn't attend over your average TDIH GD show from 1974 or something. I will often pull out recordings from modern-era concerts I've been to, especially as I'm a bit of a taper myself. But 9.99 times out of 10, I get much, MUCH more enjoyment out of almost any PLQ show in the 99-02 range than anything the GD did in their last couple of years. In fact, when it comes to Phil's groups (mostly the 99-02 era, I was utterly disappointed by the Jackie Greene era shows I saw), I am in that camp that feels that there are plenty of those exceptions where the music was actually BETTER than some GD music.

Same with Ratdog. I personally find just about any Weir solo effort from the 70's and 80's to be pretty lame (though I should not that I watched the "I Wanna Live In America" video the other day). But I saw Ratdog do some pretty cool shit in the early 2000's. My first exposure to Ratdog was the 3 piece I think it was, 96 or 97, and I wasn't that thrilled with them. But when I finally got around to seeing them on the first date of the "Evening Moods" tour in early 2001, and a few more times over the next couple of years, I thought they had improved by leaps and bounds. They were no Mickey and the Hartbeats, but I'd still rather listen to an inspired Ratdog show from the 2000's than the Grateful Dead in 1994.

Anyway, that is a good point that was made about there being such a constant change in lineups and bands over the years. That most definitely changes the whole idea of there being any continuity regarding the development and evolution of a song, in this case, Playing in the Band. The way I look at it is, at this point, it's not so much about one particular band evolving a song, it's more about many bands evolving the reportoire as a whole. We are at a point in time where these songs are still being performed and in a way developed by the people who actually wrote them. In another 15 years, this whole argument will be irrelevant, as the only people playing this music will be cover bands. I just hate to think that any of the music Phil Lesh or Bill Kreutzmann or Bob Weir made after Jerry Garcia died won't be considered valid.

It's certainly not the same argument to discuss the post-95 bands in relation to one-member changes within the actual Grateful Dead over the years, but there is a parallel in what was said about the band post-Pig or post-Brent, etc. I'll admit that I'm never going to be convinced that there was ever a Bobby Good Lovin or Lovelight that can hold a candle to a Pigpen version. So I can see how people can feel that anything played after Garcia died can't compare. But on another level, the band still played some pretty damn good music after Pig died, or Keith, Hell even after Brent died.

I dunno, I'm just rambling. I guess perspective is what it's all about, on many levels. As it is, I'm mainly talking here about listening back to recordings of live performances, not the actual experience of being a part of those performances. Discussing the "X-Factor" and all of that is just too subjective, both in terms of people's individual tastes, as well as things like the difference between the best version of such and such you SAW LIVE, and the best you've ever HEARD.

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Poster: bkidwell Date: May 21, 2011 12:31am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Playin: the Post-Retirement Years [long]

Thanks for a really nice post. I have two main responses, which are actually somewhat contradictory!

One is that a lot of people have made a distinction between the shows as an in-the-moment experience, and the tapes as a document of that. This goes back a long way, and there have always been some Heads who say that the quality and experience of a show is a totally different thing than what can be heard on the tapes - some great shows have lousy tapes, and sometimes the tapes sound good even if the "vibe" wasn't there during the performance. There's an aesthetic perspective on improvised music which claims that it has to be experienced in real-time, that the moment of spontaneous creation is where the music lives and the recordings are just a "fossil" rather than the living, breathing thing.

The opposing reaction I have is what I mentioned before, that history has to sort it out. We are still part of the unfolding process, with too much emotional connection to events. A lot of people's lives were and are lived at shows and traveling to them, as reading a lot of "show reviews" which are actually "life anecdotes" demonstrates.

Some non-fans of anything the GD did think the music doesn't have lasting value and will be forgotten once touring and show culture passes out of living memory. I'm in the opposite camp, I think the GD and its members have earned a place in the musical pantheon alongside the 19th century Germans while most late 20th century popular music will be forgotten.

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Poster: light into ashes Date: May 21, 2011 9:24am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Playin: the Post-Retirement Years [long]

One issue is the sheer volume of music... To get up to speed with all these bands, it's not like there's a few "albums" you can listen to, like with most bands....no, there's years' worth of many very long shows. Yes, it would be nice if there were more reviews/guides/discussions of the post-Dead bands...heck, even Garcia band shows are mainly unmapped territory for many of us! But I barely have time to cope with the full range of Dead shows, let alone their offshoots...

I agree that the Dead's music will be more highly regarded as time goes on. And while the experience of being at a Dead show was very important - it will, of course, fade away in importance as time goes on, showgoers get older, and more young people get into the Dead's music who never lived through the "culture" of the Dead. Already, the '60s band is more of a historic relic than a memory for most people. In time, the tapes will be all that's left, and they'll be judged on the the music alone, not the experience...
I wonder what internet discussions of the Dead will read like in 2050.....assuming anybody's posting on the 'internet' then....

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Poster: micah6vs8 Date: May 20, 2011 7:19am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Playin: the Post-Retirement Years [long]

I would have to disagree. The X factor is not involved after '95, but was in '68 w/ M&tHeatbeats.

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Poster: bkidwell Date: May 20, 2011 7:31am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Playin: the Post-Retirement Years [long]

Well, this is a can of worms topic, and from a personal subjective viewpoint I suppose I agree with you, but here's the thing:

Everyone seems to have a different date or definition for when the X factor went away, or when it was present. When a poster who I really respect like W. Tell says that he doesn't hear the X factor any more after Pigpen was gone, I respect and understand that. Some people say 77, some people say 81, some people say it went away when Brent died, etc. I've seen the opinion advanced that some of later spinoffs were better than the last few years of the GD.

The real point I'm making is that study and scholarship may be inspired by the pursuit of the X factor, but can't be limited by it. A serious scholar of Shakespeare studies the minor plays as well as the masterpieces.

We sometimes see topics about Sugaree and Deal as performed by JGB vs. their performance with the GD. I personally don't hear any "X factor" in JGB music, because for me, it is Phil more than Jerry that triggers my Xperience in that regard. I still think that looking at material that overlaps between JGB and the Grateful Dead is a valid part of dead musicology, and the same goes for Phil & Friends, I think.

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Poster: micah6vs8 Date: May 20, 2011 7:48am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Playin: the Post-Retirement Years [long]

Ah, the rub. The day the music died, ended GD music for me. The Spinoffs are O.K. to awful, but I never listen to any of them. However, if it's more Lesh, less filling for you, I can see your point.
And most of these discussions have some degree of subjectivity. A can of worms indeed.